It’s no secret that most kids today are scared to death of math and calculus. But they’re actually quite easy…as long as you don’t let modern school teachers “teach” you any of that “new math” nonsense. If you want to kick it old school, there’s no better way than to teach yourself calculus with Thompson’s Calculus for the Practical Man.
This book was catapulted to world renown when Nobel laureate, Richard Feynman, recounted using it to teach himself calculus when he was 13. Feynman credited his success in calculus to having taught himself and to some of the unorthodox methods presented in this book. Sometimes, when others couldn’t even approach a problem, a method he had learned here made the problem almost trivial.
If you are at all interested in Calculus, don’t let your first experience be in a classroom setting. You owe it to yourself to teach it to yourself. This book was “old” when Feynman read it, so it’s a bona fide classic today. Rest assured, there is no new math here.
(One word of warning: Calculus is a perishable skill. I passed the AP Calculus BC exam with a 5 and then taught myself multivariate calculus while at the Air Force Academy. Within a year of leaving the Academy, I had already forgotten many of the more advanced techniques, simply from not using them. I do remember the basics, but I would have to put in some serious study to replicate that 5 now.)
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